mental health

PHIL CAUTHON, KHI NEWS SERVICE

A special state task force says treatment options for the mentally ill in Kansas are lacking because the state's two acute care psychiatric hospitals don't have enough space and smaller mental health facilities are underfunded.

The Adult Continuum of Care Committee says in a new report that the state's psychiatric hospitals in Larned and Osawatomie don't have enough bed space to treat people who need their services and smaller mental health facilities are underfunded and overworked.

Bryan Thompson

A demonstration project to make mental health care more accessible in southwest Kansas is almost ready to begin.

It’s based on the concept that physical ailments often go hand-in-hand with mental health challenges. Debbie Bruner, who heads Minneola Healthcare, about 20 miles south of Dodge City, says providers there see it every day.

“Especially with your diabetics and your COPDs, where it’s altered their lifestyle, a lot of times you will see depression coincide with that medical condition," Bruner says.

Chanute Tribune

CHANUTE – The co-owners of a 45-bed nursing facility here that cares for people with severe and persistent mental illnesses have decided to shutter the business.

“We just got our rate-setting form from the state, telling us that our per-day reimbursement would be going down by $4.96 per person, per day,” said Mary Harding, director of nursing at Applewood Rehabilitation, Inc.

“That equates to about $7,000 less a month,” she said. “We’ve been barely breaking even for a while now, so we made the choice that we had to make, and that was to close.”

PHIL CAUTHON, KHI NEWS SERVICE

Thirty-year-old Brandon Brown was released from the Osawatomie State Hospital on May 14. Three days later, he allegedly attacked a fellow patient at the Haviland Care Center, a nursing facility that specializes in caring for adults with mental illness.

The victim, 61-year-old Jerry Martinez, recently died. And Brown has been charged with second degree murder. The incident has prompted new questions about staffing and budget issues at the state’s two hospitals for the mentally ill.

Simone, flickr Creative Commons

A new bill that would control the cost of mental health drugs to the Medicaid program in Kansas has advanced in the Legislature.

On Monday, the Senate gave first-round approval to a bill requiring a review of Medicaid's mental health prescriptions.

It also creates an advisory committee to draft guidelines on prescriptions for poor and disabled Kansans covered by the program.

The measure had bipartisan support and arose from discussions between Governor Brownback's administration and mental health advocates.

Steve Snodgrass, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas Senate has rejected a bill to give the state's Medicaid program more control over costly mental health drugs.

The vote yesterday was 25-15 against the bill.

Senators who opposed it said they are concerned about mentally ill participants in the Medicaid program not getting the drugs they need.

The state's $3 billion-a-year Medicaid program provides health coverage for 368,000 needy and disabled state residents.

Two new programs in Topeka will provide court and dental services to people with mental illness.

An alternative sentencing court run through the Topeka Municipal Court will allow mentally ill people who committed relatively minor crimes to be released from a jail earlier than scheduled if they comply with a treatment plan.

The program also will offer employment, housing and substance abuse help. Christine Wills with Valeo Behavioral Health Care says the alternative sentencing court will hear its first docket in early January.

Kansas officials must now find another $40 million dollars for the state's Medicaid program known as KanCare between now and the end of the budget year. Jim McLean reports...

Four safety net clinics in Kansas have been awarded federal funding to create or expand mental health services for low-income Kansans.

Bryan Thompson reports that funding is part of almost $55 million dollars in similar grants nationwide through the Affordable Care Act.

The four clinics will each receive $250,000. The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas saw 2,500 patients for mental health issues last year. CEO Krista Postai intends to use the new money to integrate medical and behavioral care.

Gov.  Sam Brownback is making a major push to improve the state’s mental health system. The governor's plan creates a behavioral health sub-cabinet within state government, targets substance abuse for its role in exacerbating mental illness, and increases financial investment in current treatment programs, among other things. 

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